All five Eagles draft picks made the 53-man roster — not the NFL’s biggest surprise. Three undrafted free agents also made the roster — more of a pleasant surprise.
The Eagles signed 12 undrafted free agents and three fought their way through the longest of odds to earn a roster spot.
General manager Howie Roseman, on the Eagles’ One-on-One podcast, talked about his rookie class.
A caveat: Asking the general manager to assess his draft class is a little like asking the chef what they think about the steak they just cooked.
Let’s take a look at the rookie class as they head into their first game-plan week to prepare for the season opener at Detroit.
Top pick Jordan Davis (Georgia) impressed everyone in camp with his imposing size and athleticism for a man 6-foot-6, 340 pounds.
Davis is in a good situation with a deep well of defensive tackles. With such depth, Davis shouldn’t have to be overused so the big man can get in better shape and learn from the professionals.
- “You start with Jordan Davis, and obviously a phenomenal physical specimen when you talk about what he has, the tools in his body,” Roseman said.
- “And you see the things that he does well and you see the things that he can improve on, too.
- “You remind yourself this is a rookie player who has some areas that we can improve. A lot of faith in our defensive coaches to get it out of him.”
JURGENS: LEARNING ON THE JOB
Center Cam Jurgens (second round, Nebraska) also is in a good situation. He replaced injured Jason Kelce early in training camp, took the first-team reps through most of camp and in the first two preseason games, and won rave reviews from teammates and coaches.
Jurgens looks like Kelce’s eventual replacement and someone who could enjoy a long, fruitful NFL career.
“Cam … obviously Jason Kelce is someone we want here. We hope he plays 10 more years,” Roseman said. “What a phenomenal player and person, one of the best all time.
“But Cam getting that experience was good for him. His ability to lead that o-line from the center position, you see his athleticism. But he’s a guy, too, in his rookie year there are things he can work on to get better.”
OTHER DRAFT PICKS
Third-round pick Nakobe Dean (Georgia) was all the talk coming into camp but he hasn’t come in and grabbed a starting spot yet. But everyone talks about his potential and future stardom.
“Nakobe, in his role, he’s really the third linebacker right now behind Kyzir [White] and T.J. [Edwards], who had phenomenal camps and offseasons,” Roseman said. “We know he’ll be ready to play when he gets the opportunity to do that.”
Sixth-round linebacker Kyron Johnson (Kansas) needs to add strength and experience.
“Kyron, in his role that he’ll have on special teams, his explosiveness with the things he can do to develop,” Roseman said.
Sixth-round tight end Grant Calcaterra (SMU) was one of three tight ends to make the roster. His camp was slowed by injury but he showed enough to justify a roster spot at a thin position.
UNDRAFTED AND ON ROSTER
The three undrafted free agents are cornerback Josh Jobe (Alabama), safety Reed Blankenship (Middle Tennessee State) and offensive lineman Josh Sills (Oklahoma State).
- “Proud of our undrafted free agents,” Roseman said. “Those guys, they start from the back and they made their way to the front of the line.
- “That comes from hard work and a great tribute to our scouts and coaches.”
Earlier, Roseman talked about Jobe, who had injury issues at Alabama that might have prevented him from being drafted.
- “This is a big, long, instinctive corner, a physical corner who’s played at a high level in the SEC,” Roseman said.
- “I was saying the other day I’m watching guys even in this year’s draft and I see Josh in man coverage with these guys.”
Blankenship could help shore up the safety position — a potential weak spot for the Eagles.
“Reed is an interesting guy,” Roseman said the day the initial roster was set. “Reed is a five-year starter. You don’t see many of those guys going.”
“With 419 tackles,” coach Nick Sirianni added.
- “I don’t want to put too high expectations on him, but he kind of reminded me of a guy like Quintin Mikell who we had here,” Roseman said.
- “He has physical tools, but he’s always around the ball, and credit to him and our coaches for putting him in position to make plays.
- “We wanted to recognize that because we had a smaller draft class, we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to make this team.”
Sills’ roster spot is believed to have come at the expense of Jack Anderson, but he also beat out Le’Raven Clark and Kayode Awosika.
Roseman talked with such enthusiasm about Sills the other day, he had to stop himself. “I’m not putting him in Canton — I’m starting to listen to my own description, and it sounds unbelievable,” Roseman said.